S2 EP2: How One Savvy Couple Makes $500,000 Per Year Blogging in Their 30s
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Today’s guest is Kelan Kline. Kelan is one-half of The Savvy Couple, a family finance blog that makes learning how to manage your money approachable, fun, and easy to understand.
Kelan founded The Savvy Couple in 2016, and the personal finance blog that started as a side hustle has now grown to a $500k/year business, putting them on track to reach financial freedom by age 35. Now Kelan and his wife Brittany spend a combined 35 to 40 hours a week working in the business, which allows them to spend more time with their two young daughters.
In this episode, Kelan shares:
- How they grew their business from $0 to $500k/year
- How we was able to quit his job and focus on the business full-time after making their first $50
- When they realized it was time to start creating their own products (and why two of their courses completely flopped)
- How Kelan and Brittany run their business together with two young children at home
Note: This transcript was automatically generated and may include typos.
[00:00:00] Welcome to the Dollar Sprout Podcast, where it’s all about building a business that offers consistent income and flexibility so you can live life on your terms. And now your host, Megan Robinson.
[00:00:18] Megan: Welcome to the Dollar Sprout podcast. Thanks so much for being here today. Today’s guest is Ke Klein of the Savvy Couple.
[00:00:26] I’m so excited to have Kellen on the podcast today because I actually met him and his wife, Brittany, a few years ago at FinCon, A financial. Media conference. Um, and they were so great. They were just such lovely people and I was really excited to have them on the podcast. Unfortunately, Britney couldn’t be with us today, but Ke did a great job by himself.
[00:00:47] Yeah. I’m just excited for you to hear this episode. In this conversation with Kellen, you’ll hear about everything the behind the scenes of their. Kellen was so generous in sharing so many of their numbers from their revenue to their profit, to how much they pay themselves in the business. You’ll hear the whole story of how their business started, how Kellen was able to go full-time in the business after making just their first $50.
[00:01:14] Um, how they realized it was time to start creating their own products instead of selling other people’s products through affiliate marketing and ads, and why their first. Two courses or two of the four courses they created flopped, and then also how they manage running their business together as parents of two small children.
[00:01:35] This episode is just so packed full of good information and tips that you can learn just from hearing Kellen and Britney’s story. So without further ado, Welcome Ke Klein.
[00:01:48] Kelan: Yeah, absolutely Megan. Appreciate it.
[00:01:49] Megan: Awesome. Um, well I’m really looking forward to hearing more about what’s been happening in the Savvy Couple business over the last couple years, cuz as we were just talking about before we hit record, um, I’ve met you and Brittany in person.
[00:02:02] Uh, but over the last couple of years since we’ve seen one another, your business has had some really cool, really explosive growth. So, um, before we get into all of that, can you just kind of tell the audience what it is that you do as a business? What kind of products and services do you sell?
[00:02:20] Kelan: Sure. Uh, so my wife and I run the Savvy couple.com, um, and we help families take control of their time and money, um, so they can create their life of freedom.
[00:02:28] Um, so we have a bunch of different printables and, and products and planners that we help, um, specifically moms kind of control the chaos in their life. Um, and just kind of write things down, get ’em pen and paper and just get themselves organized so they can free up their time and then focus on creating more money, um, from home and then, you know, create their life of freedom with their family.
[00:02:47] Megan: So is all of what you guys sell at this point, um, digital products, no services of any kind?
[00:02:54] Kelan: Correct. Uh, when we first started, we, we did do some blog coaching and just some side coaching and some services, but now it’s all digital products and courses. Yep.
[00:03:02] Megan: Awesome. Yeah, I remember those days. I think at one point we were both doing v i p kid teaching on the side, like building our blogs Yes.
[00:03:11] Kelan: And businesses and stuff. Yeah. Yeah. I, I remember that.
[00:03:14] Megan: Um, that’s awesome. So can you talk a little bit about some of the metrics in your business? I really appreciate when you filled out our guest survey, you said you were really open to being transparent and sharing a lot of the numbers in your business.
[00:03:27] So would you mind to first talk. , what does your current revenue look like in your business and how much of that is profit?
[00:03:34] Kelan: Yeah, sure. Um, we’re all, one of our core values is being open and honest. Um, so love to share these numbers to kind of inspire and motivate others to take action. Um, so this year we’re on pace to hit over $500,000 in revenue, which is insane to even say Wow.
[00:03:48] So really excited about that. Um, and the profit margin on that is usually right around 60%, um, from month to month. Um, so it’s, it’s going really well. We keep a very lean and mean team, um, and really focus on driving revenue and, and driving profit each month. So it’s, it’s exciting to get to that level.
[00:04:06] Megan: Yeah. 60% is like awesome profit . Um, how big is your team at this point? I mean, I know it’s you and Brittany, and then how many other people do you.
[00:04:15] Kelan: So we have Brittany and I, uh, my brother actually runs some, some of our niche sites. So we have a couple niche sites that are not the savvy couple that we can dive into if we wanted.
[00:04:23] Um, and then our main team is a freelance writer, a virtual assistant, an editor, and an ops manager.
[00:04:29] Megan: Very cool. Awesome. Um, so you also said that you were up for sharing your personal income that you guys received from the business. Uh, would you mind talking about that?
[00:04:40] Kelan: So, when we first started the business, we didn’t take ascent from it for two years, um, to really kind of just grow it and put all the money back into it.
[00:04:47] Um, and then eventually when Britney quit her job, we started taking $5,000 a month. Um, so we’re just living off of $60,000 a year. And then recently we’ve kind of continued to give ourselves raises. Um, currently we’re taking take home pay $7,500 a month, um, from the business. Yeah, owning a business is exciting, um, because you can kind of give yourself those raises over time, where, um, at a job, right, you really have to kind of put in the time and effort and, and trade your time for money to, to make those raises happen.
[00:05:14] Um, whereas owning a business or freelancing, you kind of can do that on your own terms. .
[00:05:19] Megan: Yeah. So for those two years before you guys were taking any, uh, income from the business, how were you getting by? Was it working full-time jobs or, and also freelancing? What did that look like?
[00:05:32] Kelan: Yeah, great question. Um, so we first started the blog as a side hustle.
[00:05:36] We were in $40,000 worth of student loan debt and just wanted to make a couple extra hundred dollars to, to kind of help pay off the student loan debt. And from there, Uh, we kind of hustled for like nine months to figure out the business, figure out what blogging was even about, content marketing. Um, and we finally made our first $50.
[00:05:53] And that whole time we were both working full-time, saving money, paying off debt, and really saved up a huge nest egg. So the moment, and I did like five jobs before this, um, jail debt, s insurance sales, hated them all. Always came to the same conclusion. I gotta work for myself. Once we started the side hustle and it started to make money, the first $50 we had our finances in order.
[00:06:15] I went to Brit two weeks later. I’m like, I gotta quit and do this full-time. And she was like, go for it. Um, so we were able to live off of her teacher salary and anything I made from the business or starting to freelance right after I quit my job, um, was just, you know, icing on the cake. Um, and then with the nest egg there was not that much risk cuz we had almost a year’s worth of salary that I could make nothing for a year and, and we’d be all.
[00:06:35] Megan: That’s awesome. Yeah. So you guys really prepared financially before you just jumped into entrepreneurship full-time?
[00:06:42] Kelan: For sure, and honestly, the the point where I made the decision to go all in on it, it was more scary to think about staying at, um, a job I hated or another job getting another job that I’m gonna eventually hate than taking the leap of faith and, and just going for it and see what.
[00:06:58] Megan: Yeah, absolutely. I understand that feeling 100%. Um, so let’s kind of go back there and talk about that a little bit more. What exactly were you doing right before you started your business and what was the motivation for starting this business?
[00:07:14] Kelan: So I was on my fifth job. The one I had right before I quit was a jail deputy.
[00:07:19] I did that for three years, excuse me. Absolutely hated it. Fell into a deep depression, kinda had an identity crisis cause I wanted to be in law enforcement whole life. And I was like, I just saw the writing on the wall. It’s just not going the direction I wanted. I wanted a family that I could spend time with and have, uh, you know, freedom of my time.
[00:07:34] That’s what I prioritize most in life, is freedom of my time. Um, After that I had to find like a bridge job. I actually worked as an office manager at our local college for a few months while starting the, the blog. Um, and that’s kind of what motivated me to, to really kind of create this full-time income with the online business.
[00:07:53] Um, and it was a big jump. I was making close to $30 an hour, um, as a jail deputy with overtime down to like $13 an hour as the office manager. Um, and just like was like, well, I know that our finances are okay cuz Brittany finally landed the full-time teaching job and I just need something to bring in some income that’s part-time that I can also work full-time, you know, put full-time hours into the blog to really kind of help scale it.
[00:08:16] So, um, it was a really good bridge, you know, part-time job into the, into the business.
[00:08:21] Megan: Yeah. That working as a jail deputy, uh, that’s a hard, it’s a hard career being in law enforcement. My dad worked in a prison, so he started out, I think as a jail deputy. And then, you know, he worked in the prison for over 30 years, I think.
[00:08:37] But you know, there were a lot of holidays where he couldn’t be there because he had to work. Certain shifts, um, or he would like, you know, come visit at night on Christmas. Um, but he would have to work all of Christmas day. Um, so we wouldn’t see him until we got home from, you know, doing family Christmas stuff with everybody else.
[00:08:56] So, um, yeah, that’s, that’s. It’s super hard and yeah, it’s, it’s just a very tough career in place to be.
[00:09:04] Kelan: Yeah. It’s, some people make, they love it and they, they just absolutely love the challenge and, and what they’re doing, and it just wasn’t for me. Um, yeah. And yeah, the, the biggest thing for me was not being in control of my time having, you know, yeah.
[00:09:15] It would happen all the time where we would be short staffed and I would work eight hours overnight and it’d be seven in the morning ready to go home, exhausted. Mm-hmm. , and they would call on the radio and say, Hey Klein, we need you to stay for another six hours. And I would just be like this. Insane.
[00:09:29] Mm-hmm. like, I just want to go home and sleep and like, just forced to spend more time in, in a horrible place like that was just like the writing on the wall, like, I have to get outta here. Yeah.
[00:09:39] Megan: Yeah, that’s definitely motivating. Motivating being in a, a job in a career that you don’t love, especially when, as difficult as law enforcement or, um, being in the medical field.
[00:09:49] My dad worked. Prison. And my mom was a nurse and so, you know, I saw both of them having these insane careers. Yeah. Um, so why was it specifically that you chose this type of business? Or is, is this the first business that you started with? What did it look like when you were first? Getting into it.
[00:10:08] Kelan: Yeah. Um, so I’ve always kind of loved business.
[00:10:12] Uh, I think I started my first lemonade scene when I was like three. Um, and then I quickly turned that into, uh, neighborhood carwash. And then I was selling cell phone boosters in high school. I was flipping items on eBay my whole life. Um, so I always had the entrepreneur mindset and like making money. Um, and when I was starting to sell items on eBay at 13, I had my, I helped my dad like flip a pair of boots that he didn’t use anymore.
[00:10:34] I dunno, 50 bucks or something at the time. And it was like mind blowing, like, holy cow, you can make money online. This is wild. So that was my first introduction to making money online and not having to trade your time for money. Um, and that completely changed my life. And then I’ve tried drop shipping through college.
[00:10:49] I was flipping, uh, or I was selling wine coolers and, and sports memorabilia. Um, and got the permanent ban from Amazon, uh, cuz the supplier had issues. But that was a good thing because it, it. Led me into, okay, what other online businesses are there? And I started reading blogs and reading income reports.
[00:11:06] Um, shout out to Michelle Schroer, um, right. She was making crazy amount of money. Um, and then Bobby Hoyt too was another income report. I was, I would read and it was just mind blowing. So actually when I was doing my job as an office manager, I was going back to school also to become a home inspector, um, to basically do inspections after every sale of a, you know, a property in, in New York and got certified.
[00:11:30] Did all that and then at the same time we were starting this business and I’m not even sure why we picked to do the blog, but looking back the. The amount of scale that you can have with an online business versus like a home inspection business. Like we would’ve been capped at probably 75, 80,000 a year, where like our blog can, you know, we can reach seven figures with it, um, and, and beyond.
[00:11:51] So, uh, just such a good decision to do that and I thank Britney being part of that decision and being part of the, the journey the entire way and being supportive and, and working on it with me and, and scaling it. So it’s been special and that’s kind of why we picked the online business is cuz it’s so scalable and you can reach and impact so many.
[00:12:08] Megan: Yeah, you really can. There’s no limit to having an online business, especially something, um, like a blog or something where, you know, a lot of the revenue coming into your business is pretty passive. So, um, passive in a sense, I guess we could talk about the idea that there’s no such thing as truly passive income, but, uh, but yeah.
[00:12:28] That’s awesome. And it’s funny. Yeah, just the income reports. I remember, that’s actually how I found Dollar Sprout originally was because I was on Pinterest and I would go through and I was reading like Michelle Schroeder’s, uh, income reports and then yeah, Bobby Hoyt from Millennial Money Man and all these others, and one of them that I came across was Dollar Sprouts.
[00:12:50] And then I like creeped on their Pinterest and found out that, They lived in Blacksburg and I lived in Blacksburg, so Yeah, it’s funny. Small world. I just, yeah, . I just remember the whole, the days of like scrolling through Pinterest, reading everybody’s in income reports and like trying to figure out how are people doing this online business thing, right?
[00:13:10] So, yeah, it’s funny. Um, so let’s talk about then, The very beginning of your business. Um, talk about how you made that first, I think you said your first $50 is when Yeah. You told Britney that you want to quit and do this full-time. Yeah. So how did you make that first $50?
[00:13:31] Kelan: So when we first started the blog, it was really kind of about budgeting, meal planning, saving money, um, just living a frugal, savvy lifestyle.
[00:13:39] And we used Pinterest quite a bit to drive traffic. Um, that was back in the day when Pinterest was amazing for bloggers. Uh, it’s definitely changed over the years. Have a love hate relationship there for sure. Um, but yeah, it was just a, a brand, I can’t even remember the brand that came out and said, Hey, we’d like to sponsor an article.
[00:13:54] Um, and they actually offered us a hundred dollars and we were so small at the time. I felt bad taking that, so I talked them down to $50 . That’s just the weirdest, , weirdest story ever. But, uh, but yeah, that’s, that’s kind of how we, you know, we got paid $50 to write, uh, an article for them and kind of promote them in the, in the blog.
[00:14:12] And then, um, from there I just kind of knew. That we had an audience, we were starting to build traffic. You know, we had, you know, proof of concept, you can make money. There’s obviously someone coming to pay us money to, to be on our blog. So if I can pair, you know, continuing to work on the blog, knowing it’s gonna take at least another year or two to really make a decent amount of income with, with freelancing, with skills I already have, um, learned from starting the blog, then, you know, I can quickly replace my income and, and provide for the family and, um, you know, give us a potential to really scale and build something.
[00:14:44] Megan: Tell me a little bit more. I know cuz I used to read your all’s income reports too when you first started . Um, and so I know some of the things that you went through, like I said, we were both doing v i p kid teaching at the same time. Um, but what were some other, when you were like first building up the.
[00:15:01] Digital product revenue and the affiliate revenue and everything. What were some of the things that you did to kind of make money in the beginning of your business? You mentioned blog coaching as one of them. That was kind of later on when we, we were making at least, you know, a couple thousand dollars a month.
[00:15:16] Kelan: Um, so I, I had some type of. Tech or some type of skill set to teach other people with, to kind of fast track their success in blogging since it took us, you know, nine months to make our first penny. Um, but yeah, to kind of rep to kind of help with the income. Um, I did v i p kid, that was like one of my favorite side hustles ever, is super flexible.
[00:15:35] I don’t th think they’re, they’re around anymore. Um, they’ve changed laws in China. But, um, that was really fun and. On top of that, I would get digital marketing got gigs. So I was helping, um, a company in Canada write blog posts, you know, market on social media, just, you know, customer service with their clients and just learning more skills that stack on top of each other that I could put into the blog.
[00:15:57] Um, and then there, there came a time actually where Jeff, I reached out to him or in his group and I was just like, at what point do you. Freelancing and go all in on the business. Um, cuz you know, the income was very different. Like I was making a few thousand dollars a month with freelancing in just a couple hundred with the blog.
[00:16:15] And he, he posted a question that really like, changed my mindset. He was like, well, do you actually need the freelance money? And the answer was no, because Britney was still teaching. So I was like, oh. So let’s just go all in on the blog, even though it’s making couple hundred and scale that to make the same amount that I’m making freelancing, that’s gonna be more passive long term and you’re building your own own asset versus just trading your time for money.
[00:16:35] So that’s, uh, yeah, Jeff made me help me realize, like to make that switch and, and go all in on the business. Yeah.
[00:16:41] Megan: Wow. Look at Jeff really being Vienna help. Yeah. . Oh yeah. That. Always. Yeah. That’s awesome. So you were basically doing freelance work you said in digital marketing and doing v I p kid. How are you finding these gigs When you first got started were you on freelance sites like Fiver?
[00:16:59] Kelan: So V I P Kid is one of our subscribers, kind of messaged us and like taught, shared what V I P kid was and I was like, holy cow, this is amazing. Um, . So like within a week I applied and went through all the interview process and got hired. And then being a male, I had the upper hand for sure, cuz they were, they were desperate for males to teach.
[00:17:17] Um, so my like schedule got booked up immediately. So it was an incredible experience. Um, but other than v i p kit, I would use Upwork to find, you know, freelance projects and freelance, you know, long-term gigs, um, with other people. And then eventually a couple. Those projects would go off of Upwork, so I didn’t have to pay the fees.
[00:17:33] And we would work just one-on-one and kind of have a monthly retainer, monthly, um, project type of.
[00:17:40] Megan: That’s awesome. I also loved v I P kid, by the way. It was my favorite side hustle. I remember when I first quit my last full-time job that I had before going into Dollar Sprout or doing anything in online business, I found v I P kid pretty soon after leaving my job.
[00:17:56] And um, yeah, I would teach like four classes a day or five, six classes in the morning and make a couple thousand dollars a month and that was super helpful. So, Yeah, I definitely think that that saved me a lot. I was prepared a little bit financially, but prob not as much as you guys were prepared financially when I left my job to go full-time in business.
[00:18:20] So, um, so you got to a point. where Jeff asked you this question, change your perspective, and you said, no, I don’t need this freelance money anymore. Um, we can live off Britney’s salary. So then what happened? What did you focus on next in your business and how long did it take for you to kind of ramp up revenue? What does that timeline look like?
[00:18:42] Kelan: The first nine months, we made $50 and then the. Um, after that we made 53,000, I believe. Um, so quickly ramped it up. Um, and what we did was we hired a virtual assistant and just had her help create content. So, um, and it was, it was all about, you know, roundups and Pinteresty type of articles that we could promote on Pinterest and drive traffic with.
[00:19:06] And then we quickly got into Media Vine, so we were getting display ad revenue, um, and it just quickly, Snowballed from there as far as a revenue standpoint.
[00:19:15] Megan: And at this point, you’re, how many years into your business?
[00:19:17] Kelan: This was the second year end. Yep.
[00:19:19] Megan: Okay. Second year end. You’re making like 53,000 a year, is that what you said? Yeah. Did I get that right? Okay. Yep.
[00:19:26] Kelan: And then I’ll, I’ll continue from there cuz it gets exciting. Yeah. Uh, from there, um, we just kept kind of working on the business like crazy. We had our first daughter, um, Britney went back to school that year. Um, so I was still trying to scale the business, um, from where we were at.
[00:19:42] And we were in a good spot financially. Like Britney was making 45 ish thousand a year. I was making like 50,000 from the blog. More money than we’ve ever made before. Cuz we were always like, I, I’m working, she’s trying to find a job, go back to school and vice versa. Um, so we were scaling it and I was, you know, full-time stay-at-home dad with our newborn.
[00:20:01] Um, and for those six months I would wake up at like four in the morning, work my butt off, more content, more back backlinks, more seo, more affiliate marketing, just more of everything to try to scale it. And, um, by the end of the. We were starting to make, um, some pretty significant amount of money through sponsorships.
[00:20:19] Um, and we actually ended up making, I think over $150,000 that year. Um, and, I’m sorry, no, $250,000 that year. And, um, a hundred thousand of that came from sponsorships and the wake up call we had for like the last three months of Britney’s school year, she was having a really rough school year. And I was like having a rough time being a stay home dad and trying to scale the business.
[00:20:41] And I was like, And we never even talked about this when we started the blog, but we had the conversation of like, what would, if we made enough money for you to quit your job, would you join me? And what does that look like? Like how much money would we need in order for us to feel comfortable doing that?
[00:20:56] And it was $10,000 a month for six months. Um, and May, so this school year ends in June, may. We made more money than she made her entire year teaching. And it was just like a sign from God, like, go for it guys. You guys are supposed to do this together. Um, and then Britney put in her her notice and never went.
[00:21:13] Megan: Wow. And that was May of 20 21, 20 22.
[00:21:18] Kelan: Uh, this would be May of 20, shoot, 19.
[00:21:22] Oh, 2019. Wow. Yeah.
[00:21:24] Megan: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Wow. That’s amazing. So you made more money in one month than Britney was currently making for her entire year of teaching.
[00:21:36] Kelan: Yep.
[00:21:37] Megan: That’s incredible. Yeah, that definitely sounds like it meets your, your $10,000 a month for six months goal.
[00:21:43] Kelan: for sure.
[00:21:44] Megan: You kinda knocked that one outta the park. . Yeah. That’s awesome. So going back to when you were first kind of building up revenue on your blog, I wanna talk about the different income streams that you guys were focusing on. Cuz you mentioned sponsorships. Can you talk a little bit? , first of all, is that like the first thing that you really pursued in the blog?
[00:22:05] And secondly, can you just talk to people a little bit about what, what you mean by sponsorships and how that kind of relationship works?
[00:22:13] Kelan: Yeah, sure. Um, so we always focused on, first and foremost, we focused on display ad revenue. Um, we are, we’re big fans of chasing foxes back in the day. Um, and they were heavy into kind of Pinterest and driving traffic via Pinterest to earn, you know, ad revenue.
[00:22:28] Then from there, you know, we got into affiliate marketing, but we were really like broad. We sign up for every affiliate program possible and try to market every single one instead of like focusing on a couple core affiliates that you just market in so many different ways and, and really focus on.
[00:22:41] Driving traffic to ’em. Um, so that was never really successful. It was mostly display ads. And then, um, you know, we did coaching on the sides for Simone, you know, our own services and products. Um, but then we ran across sponsorships and I just became obsessed with how do I not only get. You know, other brands interested in working with us, in getting in front of our audience, which is their ideal customer, but how do I maximize how much I can charge them to, to do so?
[00:23:08] Um, so I really came up with this in incredible system. We actually have an entire course on it called Sponsorship Secrets, um, and it’s really getting companies interested in working for you, showing the value that you can provide. And then putting together an entire marketing campaign package that can include, you know, multiple blog posts, uh, a YouTube video, Facebook ads, email marketing, social media marketing, putting it all into one bundle and charging them, you know, anywhere from 5,000, upwards of 10,000 beyond.
[00:23:33] Megan: Wow. Yeah, that’s a, that’s a very different mindset. You had to get into there from like refusing to take a hundred dollars, only asking for like $50 for your first sponsored post to being like pissed $10,000. Yeah. What was, uh, I guess how did that. Transition work or like what, what did you do or experience that gave you the confidence to be able to reach out to brands and and say, yeah, you can pay us five to $10,000.
[00:24:01] Kelan: And I think when we first started, we were just, we weren’t getting much traffic like maybe a few thousand hits a month. And by the time we started to, to really make good amount of money through display ads and sponsorships, we are getting close to 300,000 pages. So my confidence was just skyrocketed.
[00:24:17] And then I realized after getting the first sponsorship to pay us, I think it was 2,500. , and they, they jumped on it like that. I was like, wait a second. I’m really good with negotiations. Like, I’ve always been good with negotiations if someone jumps that quickly, like there’s money left on the table for sure.
[00:24:31] Um, so another, another hint for the audience, um, or another tip. If you’re into sponsorships, whether you’re doing TikTok or or whatever, Instagram, your own blog, YouTube channel. Never, ever, ever have a price sheet and tell companies. The prices to work with you always ask them what their marketing budget is and let them tell you, um, so that you’re in the driver’s seat with the negotiation.
[00:24:51] Um, and there’s been so many times where I’m like, I think I can get like five grand for from them. And they’ll come back and say, our budget’s 10 grand, and I just doubled. You know, I just made $5,000 more by not telling them what we charge.
[00:25:03] Megan: Nice. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great tip. Yeah. I’ve never been great at negotiations, but , I think that’s, that sounds like a great tip.
[00:25:11] Kelan: Um, yeah, it’s definitely a skill. Um, I just, yeah, I love the game of negotiating, so I, I really enjoy it.
[00:25:18] Megan: Yeah. So you guys don’t do a lot of sponsorships today though, right? You said you mostly focus on digital products?
[00:25:24] Kelan: And sponsorship is still a decent part of our income, um, but we’re really picky on who we work with.
[00:25:29] Um, and, but yeah, a mo a majority of our income comes from affiliate marketing and, and selling our own products.
[00:25:35] Megan: You went from doing blog coaching and mostly sponsorships and ad revenue to eventually building up your own digital products. At what point did you realize that you wanted to start creating the these products and that it was a good time for you to start creating those to sell?
[00:25:54] Kelan: Uh, so we actually took Mike Pearson’s course, stupid Simple SEO, I think the same time, uh, Ben and Jeff did. Um, cuz we kind of all started the blog at the same time. Um, and like them became obsessed with the idea of getting evergreen traffic through Google search.
[00:26:09] Um, so we took his course, did tons of keyword research, and we actually came across the keyword budget. and we had one that Britney created. Um, cuz you know, we were helping people, you know, the simplest way to budget and control your money is just pen and paper. Get it on paper, test it out, see what it looks like.
[00:26:24] Um, then you can get into apps and, and doing it passively through Mint or whatever. Um, but we started ranking for budget template and we had a budget template that was created. So then we were like, okay, people are signing up for this. What’s the next step in that funnel? What’s the next problem that they need?
[00:26:38] They need a whole budgeting binder. Um, so we created the budgeting binder, which was our very first product. And then we, you know, from there we just saw that there’s so much opportunity. So we started creating, you know, debt planner. So to people, you know, organize their debt and pay that off a meal planner, a time management, um, a money and marriage bootcamp, which has been, you know, incredible for, for couples.
[00:27:00] And I think that’s it. But yeah, we put together kind of just kind of kept building on top of each other and, and hitting people’s pain points. And it’s called the cast control bundle. And now, you know, we sell it, um, kind of on our blog and on our, on our niche site as well.
[00:27:15] Megan: That’s awesome. So you essentially came upon the idea of creating and selling digital products because you already had something that was working and you were just trying to figure out, like w We have, I think, I don’t know if you said, but it was a free budgeting template, right?
[00:27:30] So you had the free budgeting template that was ranking. So the next step was like, okay, cool. People obviously want this. How can we sell something that is related to this? Um, awesome. And did people start buying it right away? What was it like? You know, being able to. Monetize that.
[00:27:50] Kelan: Yeah, it was, uh, it was definitely exciting to finally have our own product to sell.
[00:27:54] Um, we, we actually took, um, Serita’s course a million dollar shop and she kind of helped us and coached us through, you know, setting up Shopify and having, you know, Shopify as our, our checkout cart and kind of our, our. Marketplaces sell our products. Um, so we still sell through Shopify. We also use Thrive Cart.
[00:28:13] Um, but yeah, that she kind of helped us set that up and, and it was just, you know, like I said, it kind of took time to build the whole, um, the whole idea of the whole bundle. But it just kept kind of building on top of each other and we kept just refining the product and the offer to our audience, um, and making it like a one-stop shop to fix your organiz.
[00:28:31] Megan: That’s awesome. I wanna, so I wanna ask you this question because I’m also a course person. I’ve mentioned this on the show before, but like, I love buying courses and going through and like learning about how other people. Built their business and all of that. Um, Ben and Jeff think I’m crazy sometimes when I talk to them about this because I’m, I think that they, I think you’re right.
[00:28:53] They did do Mike’s, uh, stupid simple seo. Um, but I think maybe that’s the only course they’ve ever done. Um, yeah. And I think the, the rest of it, they’re just, they’re not really COE people. So I’m curious to hear your thoughts on like, , you’ve mentioned two or three courses already that you guys have been through before.
[00:29:14] How do you find the right course? How do you know what course to sign up for? Um, yeah. And know that you’re. I guess not just like throwing money at the wall and spending money on courses that don’t matter, that you won’t complete .
[00:29:29] Kelan: Yeah, I think that I definitely am with you. I think the fastest way to find success is find someone that’s already doing it and learn from them.
[00:29:36] So I think I look at a course or even like a book as a mentor. They’re literally giving you the steps and the process and the system to find success, whatever niche they’re kind of teaching. Um, so we’ve spent tens of thousand dollars on courses in coaching, um, through our career. And I think that’s been, you know, massive, uh, way to help us grow and build those skillset to, to know what we’re doing, um, in the strategic about building our, our business.
[00:30:02] Um, but yeah, as far as like searching for courses, I think, um, we actually like put away a. For every quarter to at least buy one course to go through and, and just refine our skills or a coaching program. And I think it’s important just to, you know, Find someone that is doing what you want, follow them for a little bit, make sure you know that their values line up with yours and it’s not, um, you know, a bro marketer like Ty Lopez or, or someone like that.
[00:30:27] And, um, just vet the course by searching for reviews and, and looking at, uh, what other people are saying about it. And then once you buy a course, I’m the type of person to like sit down and just go through it in one weekend. Like, don’t let it sit on the shelf and not do anything. Like if you’re gonna buy it and invest your time into it, invest or, or invest your money into it.
[00:30:45] You gotta invest your time and, you know, go through it slowly and execute as you go. Don’t just try to rip through it and try to learn everything. Like literally take a lesson, go do that. Take another lesson, go do it. Um, and I found that to be extremely.
[00:30:58] Megan: So I’m curious, have there been any, you’ve talked about things that you’ve done in your business, uh, display ads, um, sponsorships, your own digital products.
[00:31:09] Are there any things that you created or any services or products that you tried in your business that were just. A flop that you no longer do?
[00:31:20] Kelan: Of course. Um, yeah, we, I think we are up to like four courses that we’ve tried. Um, two of them complete flops, two of them we still sell and they, and they do a decent job, um, uh, more in the blogging niche, but we kind of got away from the blogging niche.
[00:31:36] Um, but, but yeah, we’ve, you know, it took us many different attempts on creating courses and digital products to, to find the. Um, you know, the right audience for the right product, um, to kinda have a good fit and, and it’ll help us scale.
[00:31:50] Megan: Yeah. Why do you think it is that those, uh, two courses flopped.
[00:31:54] Kelan: Um, I think that we, I think now we know like when you’re creating a course, you first wanna test it with your audience.
[00:32:01] You don’t wanna just dive in and like make a a hundred video course. Um, unless you already know people are interested and willing to buy it. So we always pre-sell now as like a beta and then have those people that are, you know, willing to put their time and effort into it, help you create the course.
[00:32:15] Cuz then you’re creating exactly what people want. Um, where we kind of did the reverse on those two courses, we would like create the course and then try to sell it and the marketing would be, Um, and then we would just give up on it because it was really frustrating.
[00:32:29] Megan: Yeah, I learned that same lesson. I tried several digital products and I think two courses back when I was doing financial coaching and, you know, my personal finance blog. And yeah, I just didn’t validate the idea and I didn’t, uh, didn’t do my research. And so I went through all of this effort of creating what I thought was gonna be such a cool and successful course, and then, I think sold three , so, yeah. Yeah. It’s so deflating too. You put so much time and effort into it, and then it doesn’t sell.
[00:33:02] It’s just, yeah. It’s a big, it’s a big deflating thing.
[00:33:05] Yeah. I think it’s a lesson that so many people, so many business owners learn though of like, let’s not, let’s not put the cart before the horse here of, let’s make sure for sure people wanna buy this and they’re gonna pay for it. then spend the energy and time creating it.
[00:33:20] Yeah. Um, absolutely. So what is it like working together in this business? I mean, it’s been three years now, I think you said that you and Brittany have both been full-time in this business together. So how’s that been and how’s that changed your life?
[00:33:38] Kelan: Yeah. Um, so it’s definitely a dream come true. Mm-hmm. To, you know, spend all the, we’re best friends. We started dating when we were 14, so we love spending time together. Um, and I don’t think it can ever get old, but, which is weird to say we’re kinda that corny couple, but I would say like the first. The first year was like really difficult to figure out our roles within the business and having that like, boundary between business and family and marriage.
[00:34:04] Mm-hmm. and um, kind of that. So we’ve done a really good job, um, recently of kind of splitting up our hours. I’ll work in the morning from, you know, eight to noon and then we’ll have lunch together as a family, and then Brittany will kind of work from three to five, and then we’ll, you know, be off the rest of the night with the family or, Just doing stuff with them.
[00:34:23] So it’s, it taken a lot of time to figure out the schedule and how to work with each other and set those boundaries. But yeah, it’s been a dream come true, for sure.
[00:34:31] Megan: Yeah. So how much time per week at this point do you both put into the business?
[00:34:36] Kelan: So it’s changed, um, When we first started, it was like a full 40 to 60 hours on top of our normal job.
[00:34:44] Um, but we’ve really systematized things and we have a, an incredible, incredible team. Um, I can’t emphasize that enough, like hiring the right people to help you scale the business with the same vision and the same drive, um, is huge. Um, so I average like 25 hours a week is like a pretty big week for me.
[00:35:01] Um, so it’s 20 to 25 hours. And Brittany, um, Probably right around the 10 to 15. Um, so no, definitely nothing crazy. Um, we’ve definitely set it up to, you know, to create our dream life, you know, work part-time on high ticket stuff that’s gonna grow and scale the business and that we actually enjoy working on outsource everything else and have lots of family time.
[00:35:22] Megan: That’s awesome. So you mentioned hiring the right people who have your same. Vision and values. Um, what is your vision for the Savvy Couple? What are you all planning on doing with it in the future?
[00:35:36] Kelan: Yeah, so we’re, you know, we definitely wanna get into the Seven figure Club. Um, I think that we have a good strategy and plan to do that in 2023.
[00:35:45] Um, and our vision is just to help as many families take control of their time and money and create a life freedom. Um, we know what it feels like to be stuck working nine to five jobs have no time together. Just be stressed outta your mind, you know, living paycheck to paycheck and it’s not fun. And life is so much more important than living and working that nine to five that you don’t enjoy.
[00:36:04] So, um, it’s really, you know, helping people find their freedom and, and give them a vision and a strategy to create that life that they love. .
[00:36:11] Megan: That’s awesome. And it sounds like, it sounds like that’s exactly what you guys are doing and have been able to do with the Savvy Couple so far. Um, and on that note, I do wanna ask, cuz you, to us a little bit about it, some of the products that you guys sell nowadays.
[00:36:26] Um, would you mind kind of giving a breakdown of like, revenue wise, what does that look like?
[00:36:31] Kelan: So, kind of digital products and courses. I lump them together. Um, it’s probably right around 25% of our revenue. Um, so a little bit over a hundred thousand dollars a year. Um, and then the, the other two, I mean, we’re pretty diversified I’d say are, you know, ad revenue is probably like 20%.
[00:36:49] Affiliate marketing is up there in the, the 30 to 40%. I’m probably losing track of percentages here. I didn’t look ahead of time. Um, and then, What’s the other kinda, sponsorships is probably like another 10 or 15%. Um, so it’s pretty diversified. I love that. You know, we, our digital products have kind of increased in the revenue and the profit.
[00:37:10] Um, cuz the more stuff that you own, um, the more strategy you can have and the. Pricing differences, and it’s just better than affiliate marketing in that case. Um, but affiliate marketing has its pluses too. Like you don’t have to do any fulfillment. You, you get people to click on an offer, you get them to convert, you get the commission, and then you’re done with ’em where, you know, and you send that traffic to that person that has the course or product.
[00:37:32] Um, where when you own your own product, you know, it takes on customer service and fulfillment and all that stuff. Um, but yeah, we, we currently, our biggest seller is the chaos control bundle, and that does really well. And we actually recently, the start of this month started doing a membership upsell on the back end of that.
[00:37:49] Um, and we’re, we should hit like 60 members by the end of the month. Um, it’s just a quick $7 a month. And it’s just kind of Brittany doing her awesome teacher slash mom thing, helping moms kind of control the chaos, um, with a bunch of different accountability and more printables and teachings, and it’s really, really exciting.
[00:38:06] Megan: So Cool. That’s awesome. Yeah. You guys have really diversified. Membership is very exciting. I would love to jump into some rapid fire questions if you’re up for that.
[00:38:18] Kelan: Yeah, let’s do it.
[00:38:19] Megan: I say rapid fire, but honestly I’m the queen of tangents, so we’ll see how quickly these go. , they’re not always very rapid um, yeah, yeah. Okay. So first question I have for you is what is one of the books that you’ve given the most as a gift and why?
[00:38:37] Kelan: Um. So this would be The Millionaire Fast Line. Um, and it’s one of my top, like three books of all time, and I give it because it’s very, It changes your mindset on life and on what a normal nine to five is and what freedom looks like.
[00:38:53] Mm-hmm. and how society kind of sets us up to live in the slow lane, go to school, get in debt, get the brand new car, live in debt, and then, you know, work on nine to five that you don’t really enjoy for 40 to 50 years and then retire when you’re 60. And your body’s not even capable of enjoying life as much as it used to be.
[00:39:11] Where? Mm. You know, if you start your own business, you take control of your time and money, um, you can really fast track your financial freedom. And this, uh, this kind of gave us the vision of like, we wanna reach financial freedom by 35. We’re 32 right now. Um, and we’re on pace to do that. Um, so it’s just a book that really opened up my mind to financial freedom and what it looks like and in the strategy to get there.
[00:39:31] So it’s a book that I definitely like to give out to.
[00:39:34] Megan: Awesome. Um, yeah, I, I feel like I’ve maybe heard of The Millionaire Fast Lane, but I know I haven’t read it, so I’ll have to order that one. It can sit on my shelf for a year, like all my other books before I actually pick it up. .
[00:39:48] Kelan: Yeah. Um, yeah, I mean, it took me a while to read, but he does a great job of breaking down each, um, chapter and then giving you like a summary at the end.
[00:39:57] So it’s, it’s a quick read. Yeah. I have dyslexia, so it took me forever, but it’s so eye opening.
[00:40:03] Megan: Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing. Um, yeah, I’ll go add it to my Amazon cart. That’s what really happens is I’ll add it to my Amazon cart in like six months from now. I’ll go back and be like, oh yeah, I should order that book, and then I’ll order it. Then it’ll sit on my shelf for a year. So I up with you in like a year and a half.
[00:40:21] Kelan: I challenge you to buy it and go read it before they go.
[00:40:23] Megan: Okay. Challenge accepted. Cool. Um, okay, cool. So second question I have for you is, what is one of the best or most worthwhile investments that you ever made in your business? And it can be an investment of money or time, or energy, or any other resource.
[00:40:42] Kelan: Yeah. Um, so it’s hard to, well, I guess it’s not hard to pick a best one. Any, any type of course that, you know, improved our skills and, and honed in what we’re doing with our business has been, you know, monumental to our growth.
[00:40:54] But specifically we signed up for a coaching program called two x, um, and that. Literally helped us two x our business and get the right systems in place, get the right team, get the right offers, um, get the right focus. Just everything. And we actually, I just got back from a mastermind in Austin, Texas. Um, the two X Mastermind and I, we signed up again for another three month sprint with them.
[00:41:14] So I’m excited about that.
[00:41:17] Megan: Awesome. Yeah, I don’t think I’ve heard of two x either. Um, who, who is it that runs that, if you don’t mind sharing or what is, um, Austin?
[00:41:27] Kelan: Yeah. Austin net. Netell, I think his last name is Netell. Um, , but yeah, they have, they basically, their mission is to help, you know, six figure entrepreneurs reach the seven figure mark.
[00:41:37] Um, cuz only 4% of entrepreneurs that start businesses reach that seven figure mark mm-hmm. . So they wanna basically improve that, um, that percentage. So we’re definitely their ideal avatar and, uh, I’m hoping that, you know, sign up for their coaching program can help us get there.
[00:41:52] Megan: Awesome. So is that pretty new? You said? How, how long have you guys been in that program?
[00:41:58] Kelan: We joined it two years ago and we just did a three month sprint with ’em. Um, and then we got invited to the Mastermind. So we did that, and then that got us excited to, to jump back in and, and kind of scale the business again.
[00:42:09] Megan: Very cool. Awesome. Yeah. Um, last rapid fire question I have is when you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do to help get refocused. .
[00:42:23] Kelan: That’s a great question. Um, for me, I like to, there’s definitely days that I, I love what we do, but there’s definitely days where I feel burnt out and just like, mm-hmm. not focused, not working, which definitely helps cause I can be like, Hey Brett, I’m watching the girls all day.
[00:42:38] You can work, or we can hang out for the day and take the day off. Um, so that definitely helps. But for me, I think it, everything comes back to the vision. You know, sitting down with your spouse or your partner or you know, by yourself and really figure. Your destination, like what is the end point? What are you working towards?
[00:42:55] Because if you don’t have that end point, you can’t set up the g p s to get there. So, um, revisiting what our vision and our mission is for not only our business, but our family, um, and beyond. And, and the impact that we wanna make, um, gets me refocused and recharge to, to get back to work.
[00:43:09] Megan: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Awesome. Well thanks. Appreciate your time ke, thank you so much for being here today. Um, where can our audience find out more about you? Where can they get into the Savvy Couple world?
[00:43:22] Kelan: Yeah, so we’re on, you know, online on a blog, the Savvy couple.com obviously we’re also on YouTube. Um, you can just type in the Savvy Couple and, um, I, I can give you guys our financial Freedom Starter Guide.
[00:43:33] It’s kind of our, our opt-in, um, to help families kind of create that vision together and create that roadmap to, to fast track their financial freedom. So that’s a great way to get on our email list and stay in contact with us.
[00:43:44] Megan: Thanks so much for being here and for listening to the Dollar Spot podcast today.
[00:43:48] Be sure to check out the show notes for any links and resources that were mentioned in today’s conversation. And if you enjoyed this episode, then don’t forget to like, subscribe, and leave us a review. Wherever you’re listening to this podcast, thanks again for being here and for being part of the Dollar Spout community, and I will see you in the next episode.